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Thursday, January 13, 2011     FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

Hamas 'does not want war right now', tells militias to keep powder dry

GAZA CITY — Hamas has bolstered its military and security deployment in an effort to prevent Palestinian militias from firing toward Israel.


Palestinian sources said the Hamas regime has sent undercover officers to the Gaza Strip border with Israel. They said the officers were ordered to stop any attempt to fire missiles, mortars or rockets toward Israel.

"Hamas does not want war right now, and this message has been sent to all of the militias," a Palestinian source said.

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The sources said Hamas has been alarmed by the intensification of Israeli military strikes on the Gaza Strip in early 2011. The Israeli operations were said to have been in response to a steady increase in missile strikes from the Gaza Strip, Middle East Newsline reported.

Hamas has demanded that the Palestinian militias, particularly the Iranian-sponsored Islamic Jihad and Popular Resistance Committees — end mortar and missile fire into Israel. But the militias have refused, saying they would retaliate for Israeli attacks. The last war between Hamas and Israel was in January 2009.

On Jan. 11, Hamas commanders held what was termed a tense meeting with Jihad, PRC and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The sources said the militias criticized Hamas's refusal to join in operations against Israel.

"The militias were told that they must obey the national consensus, and that the Palestinians could not afford another invasion by Israel," the source said.

Since the meeting, Hamas, also warned by neighboring Egypt, has tried to block militia attacks along the Gaza-Israeli border. The sources said there have not been any confrontations between Hamas security forces and the militias.

"The militias do not want another Hamas crackdown, and they might reduce their attacks, at least temporarily," the source said.

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